It may have eluded you for months, or even years -- the job you sought during the Great Recession. And it may be tempting to jump at the first offer you get, as hiring picks up again.
But here's some advice that may be hard to follow, at first:
If you're ready to "settle down" and commit to a firm, make sure the firm is committed to you. Research shows that appreciated and rewarded employees tend to be more invested in the companies they work for, and they tend to job-hop less.
Here are seven secrets to finding the perfect job for the long run:
-- Look for a firm that puts employees first, even before customers and shareholders. Why? Companies with that philosophy view workers as partners in the business and are more dedicated to safety on the job, good benefit packages, training and development.
-- Find a company with a clear, easy-to-understand and strong mission statement that drives the culture and makes sense.
-- Pursue a company that has a strong recognition-and-rewards program for employees based on employee contributions to the company's mission, as well as to its bottom line.
-- Seek a firm that gives employees the freedom to make suggestions.
-- Choose a company that has strong management at the top and at all levels so that employees always know their superiors and have access to them.
-- Find a company that has a reputation for quality products and services and is ethical.
-- Sign up with a company that measures your performance regularly and clearly -- and that ties your performance to company goals, the mission statement and your development.
How do you find these firms?
-- Ask people you know. Go to professional and civic organizations and learn about the best companies to work for. Read trade journals and business magazines. Note the business stories in your local media. Go online and check company websites. Also ask questions through your social-media groups and contacts.
-- Don't overlook nonprofits. At CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse), a nonprofit in St. Petersburg, Fla., for example, employees enjoy a number of "empowerment" opportunities. Quality committees make recommendations. There is staff leadership training. And a staff-enrichment committee is currently reviewing HR policies and making recommendations.
Marie Stempinski, the founding owner of Strategic Communication in St. Petersburg, Fla., specializes in public relations, marketing and employee-motivation consulting. See howtomotivateemployees.org. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service www.scrippsnews.com.